It was a wonderful weekend. We spent it with cousins and we stitched it up (among other creative things). While visiting downtown Poulsbo, we stopped in at Heirloom Quilts. The girls each picked fabric for their skirts. It was so much fun. If Iz could have, she would have taken a cut from every single bolt. She’s a girl after my own heart.
I had promised my cousin that I would teach her to sew, and making one of these is so perfect. She learned how to measure herself, how to rip fabric (so we didn’t worry about cutting straight lines), how to iron, wind a bobbin, thread the machine and sew in straight lines. It’s the perfect skirt, because it’s ok if you can’t sew a straight line, you won’t see it! You can totally design them with the right fabrics and band placement.
photo by Iz
Iz loves the sewing machine. If the table were lower, she could certainly step on the pedal herself.
Sarah did such a great job. Her skirt was AWESOME! The prints she picked were adorable and a total reflection of her personality. It was great for me, I’ve been missing teaching sewing. I keep thinking that I’ll just start teaching again. soon. really soon!
PS – Want to make your own Twirly? Here’s a really, really wonderful tute from House on Hill Road.
You might have noticed that part of my evil plan is to get the rest of the world sewing. And that’s everyone. Two of our little friends had birthdays and I thought it was time for them to start sewing too!
There are my first go at little kits. One for Miss A (turning 3) and one for Mr. H (turning 4). Each kit is quilted, so it’s nice and soft. Lots of little narrow pockets, a piece of felt for pins and needles, a happy tie and monogrammed so they won’t be lost. I put in little safety scissors, for fabric only of course, a tape measure, marking pencils, tapestry needles a few glass head pins and a rainbow of embroidery floss. I was so excited.
The kits were really, really easy to make. Each one took me less than an hour. I think the next round will be a little different, The bias tape edge wasn’t as fabulous as I had envisioned, and a little flap over the pockets will make sure the scissors don’t fly out of the kit.
The biggest thank you anyone could hope for? Little Mr. H (is he not just the cutest Little LuckyStitcher you’ve ever seen?), stopped by to show me his stitchery. A kitty and a carrot. Mom helped with the outlines, and Mr. H filled in. Suitable for framing in my book. Happy Sewing.
The LuckyStitchers have been working like MAD on their Eco-Quilts. They are still being worked on and you can flip through all the photos on Flickr. Our Quilt Show will be up in June, if you are a local yokel – please come for a visit!
I wonder all the time what Iz will remember. What will she tell her kids, grandkids about her life and experiences? What will she cherish? Being a parent has really opened my eyes to things I wouldn’t have seen before. The wonderful little things that she might comment on, or want to hold or wear or read or listen too. I love these fresh experiences.
I gave Iz a canvas with a hoop attached, a tapestry needle with some floss (she picks the colors) and look what we’ve been doing:
I can’t tell you how excited I am. All three of us sitting together and working on stitches. We all have embroidery projects going and it’s been really, really fun. We share stitches, I taught Rob the French knot, Rob helps Iz tie a knot and she picks all the colors. She’s only 3 and already we can sit and sew together.
Do you remember sewing with your mom or grandmother or aunt or a good friend? Or maybe it wasn’t sewing, but knitting or gardening or cooking? Doesn’t a smile just start to sneak up on you as you remember the embroidery sampler, the scarf, the doll clothes, the vegetable garden? I find that I remember these things with my mom (sewing, gardening crafting), my grandmothers (painting, fashion show lunches, needlepoint, cooking), aunts who stitched, crocheted, photographed, read books, listened to music: the loving people in my life that were so passionate about their craft it seeped through every aspect and into mine? Sifting through their “tool boxes” as they baked in the kitchen. Smelling the oil paint, trying on thimbles, reading the climate maps on seed packets, fingering the embroidery floss and loving the colors, staring at bookshelves, loving the wonderful art books they found inspiration in. Maybe that’s one of the wonderful reasons sewing and these other arts are so comforting to me? The act of focusing on all these activities is so zen like, but how much of it is due to the love in how I learned to do it?
Each month at LuckyStitches I offer a class for kids and their parents to come in and sew a project together. This month, we made bucket hats.
Perfect for Spring. Especially since we keep having storm after storm and more snow (although today it was rain).
Everyone learned how to adjust the pattern to their measurements.
Cutting always takes practice.
Sewing circles takes practice and some advice from mom.
Making sure tootsies can reach the pedal, make for a tear free sewing experience.
Ages 7 and 10 – these little LuckyStitchers, along with their mom, made their very own hats. Together.
Sew much has been going on at LuckyStitches, so I’ll give it to you in one long post with pictures and a few words:
We’ve been working on our sewing machines. Some students have been stitching for a while, whether they started during the classes that began back in December, or earlier. Some have never used a sewing machine. You know what’s great about teaching these kids to sew on machines? They try anything. They don’t give up and aren’t afraid of the machine or to make mistakes. They are thrilled to be making things.
This week it was tote bags. Fabulous practice for first timers, lots of straight lines, hems, corners and straps. For those that are more experienced, they design their own bags.
Above – the kids ages 6 -11 – all sewing on the machine for the first time.
Flannel pups, we put french seams in our tote bags so they wouldn’t ravel all over our books, groceries, sewing projects, dolls, etc.
Dolls watch as we sew straps.
The perfect pocket completed by a first time sewing machine 6 year old queen.
While each child is different, I am amazed by the talent displayed by my youngest students. They sew straight lines. They remember how to wind bobbins and thread the machine. Some parents declare that their 6 year old can’t use a machine (and they could be right), but have they tried? Sure, they shouldn’t be left alone, it is a machine and it can sew over a finger, but why not sew together? If you give them a chance, they can totally do it.
The classes are designed as guidelines. Since everyone works at different levels, I provide the basic idea and encourage everyone to make it their own. This 12 year old decided her tote would be in strips.
After attaching the strips, she pleated every other one. I can’t wait to show you what she does with the bag this week. It’s a very clever bag (no longer the trad tote!).
This is a box tote, that has been quilted and has tons of pockets including a zipper pocket on this side of the bag.
Bag has handles attached with square rings and fabulous batik trim. The inside is lined. More on the bags after classes this week. We’re going to have a bag show.
We’ve also been working on embroidery. We are working in T-shirts. More pictures later.
Embroidery 101 :: I created a sampler and taught the basic stitches (so everyone could create their own!). Here we are using the “window method” to transfer the sampler pattern to our fabric. We are using basic color pencils to transfer the pattern
French Knots, Split Stitch, Chain Stitch, Satin Stitch and Blanket Stitch.
We are still making jeans. Here, the edges of the pieces are being serged (denim ravels like CRAZY). My jeans are just about done, but, and I can’t believe it, but my jeans are just way too big! How did that happen. The muslin fit! Maybe the “Sew Diet” is working. I’m eager to finish my first pair, I have many more in line.
If you have an iron, it’s best to have an aloe plant around. We needed this during a Sew-cial when a 6 year old was learning how to iron (with her mom), and ironed her arm. ouch. If you don’t have an Aloe plant at your home, sewing room or lounge, go get one.
I don’t remember too well how it was that I learned to sew. I remember a coloring book page of Red Riding Hood, a needle and red thread, and stitching along the lines. Then I remember cross stitching Christmas ornaments. After that was the little pink pant suit I made. I was 7. I have really, really fond memories of the fabric store. Flipping through the pattern books, writing down the numbers, picking out the fabric, waiting in long lines to have the fabric cut and cash out.
I’ve been inspired by and learned an awful lot from my creative students whether they be wee ones or big ones. I’ve realized that these beginner stitchers have to want to learn to sew. If they don’t there is just no point. But sometimes, they don’t know that they want to learn to sew because they think that it’s too hard to try, the don’t know already so they won’t try, or it’s a girls thing and they (some girls and most boys) won’t participate.
I try to think what sparked my interest. I can tell you first, it was the print and color, then the texture of the fabric (who remembers shopping with mom and hiding in the racks and LOVING the fabric? ), then the making of things as well as the machine itself. Plus I LOVED the sewing kit. All those yummy little precious things in there.
Whenever I come across someone who won’t try the machine or seems bored with the idea of sewing something, I tempt them with little facts about sewing. The other day it was a young boy. He wasn’t so thrilled with the idea of sewing a tote bag. Not thrilled at all. He’d never used a sewing machine before. He’d done some hand sewing, but not the machine. Ugh. Not a happy face. So, I showed him the bobbin assembly. It comes OUT of the machine. End of story. He made a really fabulous tote bag. Plus as soon as another machine hit a snag – he was there to fix it.
I also taught some machine sewing at the local prison. At first, I couldn’t get 10 volunteers. There was just no way anybody was going to sew. After a few minutes, I convinced the 10 I needed just to try it. I demoed the machines, got each one threading the machine and before you knew it, 20 more guys had wandered into the room. What was it? Clearly for the inmates it was the act of making. Just getting a few to sit down and try it was enough to convince the others to get their stitch on. One said to me that learning to sew was good for him on the “inside” as well as the “outside”. Once they got over their fear, they were able to thread machines and sew tote bags. There is something wonderfully therapeutic in the act of making things. Thankfully the program has taken off, and with the help of volunteers, the inmates can sew on a weekly basis.
Sew, it’s a different reason for everybody. I have several reasons for sewing: I need something, I want something, I want to give something, or I dream of something and just have to make it. There is quite a wonderful sense of accomplishment that comes to those who have taught themselves or learned to sew and to be able to make something from 2d fabric and turn it into an object with shape and a new and exciting purpose.